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42 Gallon Hex Tank Build

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The Controller
This I guess is a good time to talk about the controller. Originally I chose the Reefkeeper Elite as my controller. That was in October 2008. I purchased the Reefkeeper system with the NET module. Like most new toys I did not just leave it in the box until I was ready to use it. I hooked it up and got started with programming the controller. I even got a container of salt water for the various probes. Before long I was helping others with programming on the manufacturer's forum. It wasn't long before  the manufacturer in this case Digital Aquatics noticed. They ask about my background and then ask if I would like to be a Team DA member. So naturally I said yes. A Team DA member is not a Digital Aquatics employee but was there to help other fellow aquarist with programming issues and answering the common questions that new users might have. I did this for several years. One of the perks was I got to try out new things before they were available to the general public. I didn't get every module or new device. It has to be something I could use and put through it's paces. One of the items I got to try out is their Archon controller as a beta tester. So by the time I had the tank up and running I had the Archon in hand ready for the tank.
The Archon improved quite a bit since it was first introduced. It is basically a Linux based computer with a built in module. The built in module has a interface for the buss used by all the Reefkeeper modules. The same modules that are used with the Reefkeeper Elite and Reefkeeper Lite.  There are 4 of these buss ports on the Archon ( upper right part of Archon in photo below). One is dedicated to a iTemp temp probe ( the bottom of the 4 buss ports in photo below). The other three can be used to connect to any of the modules (the silver buss cable in the upper right is connected to one these ). The Archon comes with it's own power pack so buss power is not an issue. The other ports are  2 ports that can be configured for either pH or ORP ( the two BNC's in upper left), 4 switch input ports, 4 0-10v ports, 2 PWM ports. Two of the 0-10v ports ( between the pH ports and the RJ45 jacks middle left with white wires hooked to them) have the same connector as the APC module. So the same cables used with the APC can be used with the Archon. The switch ports, other 2 0-10v ports and PWM ports are accessed via 2 RJ45 jacks (the silver cables are hooked here bottom left). There is a module that breaks these out to terminals. It is the IOE module( above the Archon on the left). Only one IOE is required per Archon. You can also use you own cables or use a cat 5 cable to break out the individual wires. There is one USB port (Right side of Archon near bottom) which is currently used for a USB drive. All the boot up files and graphing is stored here. Once booted up only the graphing is done on the USB drive. The remaining is a wired network jack (on right just above USB port) and the power jack ( on right between buss jack and network jack). The module in the upper left corner is the IOE module. I am currently using two of the switch inputs and the two PWM outputs. There are three terminals strips to the right of the IOE . The one on the left goes back to the back cabinet and then is connected to a cable up to the canopy. This has the two PWM channels hooked to it from the IOE module. These are used for the control of the royal blue and UV lighting. The center terminal strip is connected to two of the 0-10v outputs from the Archon ( the white wires are connected to this ).  The terminal strip on the right goes to a terminal strip in the back cabinet. This has one switch inputs connected from the IOE and one of the 0-10v outputs from the center terminal strip. The switch input is connected to the back float switch used for leak detection. Another switch input from the IOE is connected to the front leak dection float switch. The 0-10v output controls the intensity of the lights for the refugium. The module below the Archon on the left is a SW5 module. It has 4 switch inputs and 1 relay output. The switch inputs are connected to 4 float switches in the sump. One is low level, one is full switch and one is overfull. The fourth can be used to replace one of the others. At the moment it is setup as a secondary full switch below the level of the other full swtich. This controls a backup ATO pump. The relay output is used to control the cooling fans for the sump. The module to the right of the SW5 is an SLX module. It has a temp input, pH input, ORP input and two switch inputs. One of the switch inputs is used on a float switch in the sump to control a pump to fill the sump in the event the return pump is off. The module just below the SLX module is a SL2 module. It has a temp input, pH input, salinity input and two switch inputs. The switch inputs are not currently used. 
As I stated earlier I was a beta tester so I had temp, pH, ORP and salinity probes hooked to all available inputs. At one time I had another module connected with all probes. At this time I have 3 temp probes, three pH probes, two ORP probes and one salinity probe in the tank. The original RKE head unit is still mounted in the door om the front of the stand. It is no longer hooked to the system though. I have another raised panel, but have not got around to changing it out at this point.
There is a HUB module ( module above power bars in photo below ) mounted in the back cabinet. This is basically a 5 way buss splitter. One connection is connected to a keystone coupler on the back panel. This is connected to a wall plate that goes to the modules in the garage. Three of the connections are connected to a PC4 power bar each. The power bars are in the back cabinet. Two of the power bars are then connected to the module or modules in the front cabinet.  The module on the left is connected to one PC4 and the modules on the right are connected to the other. The third PC4 power bar is connected to the modules in the canopy. These modules are the MLC to control the moon pods and the AVC module which controls the red, green, blue and white lighting .The last HUB  connection is connected to one of the buss connectors on the Archon.
In the photo below are two of the three PC4's in the back cabinet. The one on the right controls the power to the MP10's, return pump and skimmer. The one on the left controls the two reactor pumps and two heaters.
Below im the photo is the third PC4 power bar. This one now controls the power to the Refugium lights, 24v supply, Swabbie and pump used to fill sump when return pump is turned off.
There are three power bars, a HUB module in the garage. Two are PC4's and one is a PB4. There are also 5 DP1 dosing pump modules. One dosing pump is used for ATO and two for auto water change. The other two are not used at the moment but are avalible in the event one being used has an issue and needs to be replaced till it can be repaired. The only issue being if it is one of the auto water change pumps the replacement will need to be calibrated to the remaining pump. The dosing pump modules have two switch inputs each. These are used to monitor the levels in the storage tanks and leak detection. The power bars control the three solenoids used on the RODI and any pumps used in the garage. One is the input to the RODI. There is another that controls flow to the DI storage tank and one that controls flow to the mixing tank. The RODI is used for RO water to my fridge also so the input turns on for 10 minutes every hour to refill the bladder in the RO storage tank. The solenoids cannot be powered full time so this was the only option I could come up with. If the DI tank goes empty the DI and input solenoids will be turned on until it is full. This tank holds about ten gallons.  If the mixing tank is emptied the input solenoid and mix solenoid it turn on until the tank is full. Then I just have to add the salt mix to get it ready for use. I have another tank where fresh salt water is stored for the auto water changes. I have enough spare power bars and modules to set up my 110 if I am still using the controller by then. Unfortunately the manufacturer decided to get out of the hobby controller business. I did find other options for some of the replacement parts.
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It's a shame the digital aquatics guys went out of business.  I know a few people who got burned by that

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3 hours ago, jolt said:

It's a shame the digital aquatics guys went out of business.  I know a few people who got burned by that

Dynon Avionics is still around. They just decided to drop the Digital Aquatics line. I guess they needed the manufacturing output for their avionics products. I wish they could have found a way to keep Digital Aquatics going though. I became freinds over the years with the employees that were layed off when they shut it down. I will continue to use mine as long as I can keep it running or until I find something I like better. I started a thread here https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/alternatives-to-digital-aquatics-probes-and-parts.439573/ for replacement parts and probes. 

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The Controller Initial Setup

The Archon is easy to setup. It has it own WIFI hot spot that is on all the time. To setup the Archon you just plug in the power supply and plug the supply into an outlet. No need to hook any other modules at this time. I was an iPad these screenshots but you could use a computer or a phone also.  Go to where you select the WIFI network you wish to connect with on the device you are using.  The Archon should show as one of the networks.


Choose the Archon network like in the photo below.


Now launch your web browser. Firefox works best with the Archon. Also Safari works well. Type in for the website address. You will get a login box to put in name and password.


The default is

Name      : DigitalAquatics

Password: password

This can be changed in the setup page.

Once logged in you will be on the home page of the Archon. My homepage in shown in the screenshot below. A new archon will not have all the output and input tiles that are on the screenshot below. Otherwise it will be the same. I will go over this page later but now we are interested in setup so click the setup button in the menu at the top above the input and output tiles.


This will give you the screen below.  The first thing to setup is the wireless setup. After that you can access the Archon over you network. Under wireless setup Click the show information button.


Now you should have the wireless entry fields displayed on the right side of the screen. Click the down arrow on the SSID entry list box.


Note: My system already had the wireless setup done. The wireless data fields will come up blank even if they were previously setup. This is not a fault in the system and was done as a security feature. Personal data that has been entered is not displayed after the webpage has been refreshed. This applies to most settings with personal information.


A list will pop up with the networks available. Chose the one you want the Archon on. In my case I chose my network as shown below.


Now select the encryption type used on that network.


In my case I chose WPA2. Now enter the encryption key for the network. Then click the update button.


Now click the View Information button under Update Archon Connection. This is to find out what name is used by the Archon. It is archon on mine. Look under Set Hostname. You can also change this, the port and the access point address when on the Archon network here. I don't see any reason to change these. 


Now you can get back on the network you connected the Archon to if you want. Or you  can do the rest of the setup from here. To change the login and password just enter the name and password you want in the appropriate fields below Archon Login & Password then click the Save Login/Password button. To set the email address or addresses you want alerts emailed Type in the address or addresses in the field below Setup Email. If more than one address separate them with a comma.  Click the update button. Then you can click test to see if you receive a test email.


The only thing left is to turn on/off additional interfaces. The only thing there is EcoTech. You can select whether the EcoTech button is present on the menu bar. If you click the EcoTech button it forwards you to the login webpage for reeflink. The screen shot of additional companies is in the photo below. I do have the reeflink so I can get to that webpage from the Archon controller webpage by clicking the EcoTech button.


Once you log into the network you setup the Archon to be on you should be able to enter the hostname with a / for the website to access the Archon. In my case that is "archon/". The screenshot below is of the homepage on my Archon after login via the network.

You will have to enter the name and password you chose during setup to get into the Archon. If you didn't change it then it will still be the default name and password listed earlier. 


After setup you can still use the WIFI hot spot to access the Archon if needed. Once setup you can attach the modules in the order that you wish them to be in the tiles. That is it for initial setup of the Archon. I will get into homepage setup and programming  later.

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Controller Homepage
Now on to the homepage. Below is a view of my homepage. Just below the Archon name is the menu. It may take more than one line. depending on the device you are using and the way it is rotated to display the webpage. Below the menu there is two rows of tiles on the iPad or computer. On a phone it is all inline. The output first then below that the inputs. On a computer or tablet the left is outputs and the right is inputs. On a new Archon there would only be a few tiles displayed. The graph/webcam is either at the bottom of one of the rows or to the right of the input row. On a computer the graph can be double clicked to view the graph in full size. Double click again and it returns to normal size.


You can choose up to 10 tiles of outputs and up to 10 tiles of inputs from all the outputs and inputs attached to the system. To choose click on the gear in the upper right side of either row. The screenshot below shows the screen after clicking one of the gears. To choose tiles click the box on the ones you want displayed on the home screen. If there are too many to fit on the screen you can scroll through them like here.


In the screenshot below the output side is scrolled all the way to the end of the list.


In the screenshot below the inputs have been scrolled all the way to the end of the list. At the end of either list is a update button. Once you have all the outputs and inputs selected you want displayed then click one of the update buttons to update the home page.


The tiles have a symbol for a graph in the upper right corner of the tile. To display  a graph click the appropriate graph symbol for the port you wish to view. In the screenshot below I clicked on the iTemp port of the Archon module. The graph for that port is shown in the graph display. You can move the slider below the graph to magnify a portion of the graph.


The screenshot below shows the sliders moved to magnify the graph. I have the graphing set to sample every 5 minutes at this time. I think I am going to increase this to 15 minutes.


If you click on the gear for Graph/Webcam you get to select either graph or webcam to be displayed. This is only for the current session. If you leave the webpage and come back it reverts to the default of graph. After you select and click done which ever one you selected will be displayed. In the case here I choose webcam. Also this screenshot was using Firefox. Most of the others are using Safari.


The output tiles have Off Auto On across the bottom. You can click these to change that output to that state. A warning if you set an output to on or off it will remain there until you change it back to auto or the controller is reset. The output will only react to alarms if it is in auto. Be careful when scrolling. I usually try to stay on the center of the tiles. That way it doesn't accidentally get set to on or off. Below is a screenshot of the top left output Lunar White in the off mode.


Below is a screenshot of the same output Lunar White in the on mode. This particular output is a varible output. In the on mode it will be on at 100%.


All outputs and inputs can be named. I will get into changing the name during programming. The name you select is displayed in the upper left of the output tiles and upper middle of the input tiles. The upper left of the input tiles is displayed the module name the port is on. Modules can also be named. The upper middle of the output tiles displays that ports current state.   The input tiles display the current reading or state in the bottom left of the tile.  Switch inputs are displayed as open or closed.

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